CSA Week 22, 23, & 24

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Carrots
• “Sangre” Potatoes
• Arugula
• Eggplant or Melon
• Broccoli or Beets
• Cherry Tomatoes
• Big Tomatoes
• Sweet Peppers
• Choice of Herbs
• Garlic

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Hard Squashes, Kale, Swiss Chard

Time is flying by now that Fall is here. Days are shorter, and just all we have to do is harvest and clean up. The big slow-down. Since I’ve missed a few blog posts, I’m including photos of the last few weeks here.

In other news, we’ve had two new additions in the cow herd! First came Coral, Garnet’s first calf. She’s a cutie!

Then came Bob Dollar, Juniper’s ninth calf. He’s pretty darn handsome. (If you’re a fan of Annie Proulx, you’ll recognize Bob Dollar from her book, “That Old Ace in the Hole.” I’ve listened to it four times this summer.)

Both pairs are doing great, and the babies are frisky and play together when they’re not sleeping or eating. Check them out!

We’ve harvested the sweet potatoes and are sending them up the hill to Auburn Mountainview’s nice, hot greenhouse to cure. Then we can serve them up for Thanksgiving week!

The tomatoes keep giving, the beans are starting to stop, and soon it will be squash, greens, and potatoes season. Personally I can’t wait for some frosty-sweet kale.

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CSA Week 19

So much summer!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Snap Beans (Green or Yellow)
• Big Lettuce
• Summer Squashes
• Lemon Cucumbers
• Tomatoes
• Lemon Basil
• Beets or Carrots
• Garlic

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Basil, Shelling Beans, Peppers, Broccoli, Cauliflower

SAVE THE DATE: Final Farm Potluck: October 21st

As the torrential rain falls in Texas, we are being forecast for a late fall. Another 3-4 weeks of hot, dry weather. As much as I’d like this summer to finish up, I am grateful for a few more weeks of growing time. We’ve planted a lot of extra crops (double the row feet) to provide bounty into the winter and make up for the ruinous spring start.

This round of broccoli and cauliflower are looking great. CSA will get nice crowns in two weeks or so!

We’re experimenting with some fall crops in the greenhouses. Since we downsized, we only need half as much space devoted to each crop as last year, so we can feasibly plant Swiss Chard, Green Beans, and Broccoli in the hoop houses for an extra late harvest. I’m hoping for plenty of variety in November, so we can delay the classic trio of Squash, Kale, Potatoes until December.

I planted two rows of melons in a greenhouse, just in case they worked. One row of cantaloupe-type melons, and one row of heirloom French melons. These are going to be my favorite, I know. Noir de Carmes and Prescott Fond Blanc. There will be plenty for everyone!

Everything will be planted this week. The work crew is going back to school, so they’ll just be weeding a couple days each week, and we’ll be able to start eating dinner before dark. Maybe.

Mostly we use the greenhouses to get an early jump on spring, and reliably grow peppers and tomatoes. But we can also use them to push a number of crops into the fall. Here we’ve got a final round of Swiss Chard, Basil, and Parsley started. Basil will make it into October, but the other two will hopefully last until Thanksgiving and then regrow in the spring for an early crop. (We’re also working on Green Beans and Broccoli! Fingers crossed!)

It’s already time to order seed garlic and onion starts. And because we had a 6-week delay in income, followed by my medical emergency—and resultant bills—we are short in funds for these purchases. So, I have a deal for anyone able to pay early for their 2018 CSA subscription: Prices are the same as last year, and we are keeping to our single, 40-week season (April through December) but if you pay before October 1, you’ll save 10%. That’s $70 off of a $700 Mini Share, $100 off of a $1,000 Small Share, or $180 off of a $1,800 Large Share. Your early payment will mean a successful start to 2018!

Have a great week!

CSA Week 16

We may not have onions this year, but our garlic is abundant, and so are the beets! And we’re rolling in green beans.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Carrots
• Snap Beans (Green or Yellow)
• Baby Lettuces
• Summer Squashes
• Lemon Cucumbers or various Greens
• Basil
• Beets
• Garlic

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Tomatoes, Shelling Beans, Peppers

SAVE THE DATE: Farm Potluck and Garlic Cleaning Work Party: August 27th

The final fall crops are going in the ground this week, and we are hustling! These last plantings will get us through the end of the year, plus a bit beyond. We’re also planning some surprise crops in the greenhouses. Fingers crossed!

Spinach is fickle in the summer. It refuses to germinate if the soil is over 70 degrees, and it will bolt (go to flower) if the temperature stays too hot for too long. But we just keep on trying…

We are moving next Tuesday’s deliveries and farm pickup to Wednesday, so that we can go south a bit and experience the eclipse. We’ll be back Monday night, but we’ll still need a day to harvest. Please mark your calendars! Weekend pickups will remain the same.

The first day of sky after the wildfire smoke cleared. What a relief!

We have several plantings of green beans coming on strong, with the final planting today. This last planting will (hopefully) mature in early October, and it IS a gamble crop. But sometimes we have beautiful weather in October, and if that happens, we’ll have lots of beans!

Beautiful green beans. I just sauté them in a little butter until they turn bright green. So delicious!

With all the challenges this season, the late rains, my injury, and then a hot, dry spell, our u-pick garden has suffered. There are some zinnias, cherry tomatoes, and there will be pumpkins. The gladiolas and dahlias are up, but it’s highly unlikely that they’ll grow enough to bloom, but you never know. We’re really glad the wildfire smoke has cleared and we have fresh air, plus a bit of drizzle. Bring on the fall!

CSA Week 12

So much vitality here! Dense lettuces, hearty greens, Persian cucumbers, carrots, fava beans, garlic, and heavenly herbs!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Carrots
• Fava Beans
• Big Baby Lettuce x 2
• Persian Cucumbers
• Greens (Kale, Chard, Purslane, others)
• Cilantro
• Garlic

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Green Beans, Basil, Beets

SAVE THE DATE: Farm Potluck and Garlic Cleaning Work Party: July 29

Shades of green: lettuce, lemon basil, and marjoram.

Summer arrived, and everything started growing! We are where we should have been a month ago, but we’re just glad to have things to harvest!

The first golden orbs didn’t last long. So many are on the way: brace yourselves.

I apologize for the lack of posts over the last few weeks. We’ve been busy planting and harvesting, and taking day trips with the kids. It’s been wonderful.

Basil. Is. Coming. Almost big enough…

We’ve been able to get a lot of extra winter crops going, so our plan is to extend the CSA into January, to make up for the month we lost to the rainy spring. No net loss of food investment. Yay!

CSA Week 7

Lovely treats for our return to CSA: Baby Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Green Shallots, Napa Cabbage, Fresh Thyme, and Rhubarb.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Carrots
• Green Shallots (use like a spring onion, or a green onion)
• Sugar Snap Peas (eat the whole thing)
• Rhubarb
• Napa Cabbage (great as a salad or coleslaw, or stir-fried)
• Fresh Thyme

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Garlic Scapes, Green Garlic, Shelling Peas, New Potatoes

SAVE THE DATE: Farm Potluck: June 24

Snap Peas, Colorful Carrots, and Thyme Flowers.

First, I want to thank our entire CSA family for being supportive and understanding as we navigated the last few weeks. The endless rain delays were bad enough, but then my sudden, surprising entry into the hospital was another. It actually took four ER visits to determine that I was not having a migraine (which I have been lucky never to have) but instead, I had suffered a carotid artery tear.

I’ve known Regina Grubb a long time. She was a CSA member many years ago, and teaches horticulture at Auburn Mountainview High School. She was first to jump in and help with watering the greenhouse starts and keeping the farmers market space alive.

We still don’t understand how it happened, as it’s usually the result of a severe neck trauma. I had been working hard the days before, but nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing hurt. I just spent an entire night with a terrible headache and woke up with a numb tongue. Luckily it wasn’t a stroke or an aneurism. But it was exhausting, and I need to go easy for a while to make sure my artery heals.

When I came home from the hospital, I was on orders not to do any heavy work. But I was pretty weak anyway and needed a lot of rest. Trinity (in the back) has been working for us since April. Her entire family volunteered to plant onions last week. It was an incredible gift.

What is truly amazing is the amount of help that we’ve received. We were so behind in our planting schedule because of the rain, it was difficult not to feel stressed while useless. But Regina Grubb (long-time friend and high school horticulturist extraordinaire), Chris Sechrist (the ambitious young farmer we are mentoring), and Trinity (our high-school wonder-employee) all stepped up and went above and beyond to get crops planted, watered, and weeded, as well as doing all the heavy lifting I’m not allowed to do right now.

Chris started farming a few years ago, but now he’s renting two acres of our farm and we’re mentoring him. It’s a great relationship, and he has been a huge help while I’ve been in the hospital and recovering.

Things are looking really good for harvest in two weeks. We’ll have a lot of different crops ready, and serious abundance. All the local farms are still behind, as are we. CSA programs are starting late. Farmers market tables are meager. But summer is coming. We are betting that this year is like the last few years, where we have an extended fall. We still have time to plant all of our winter crops, and we’ll be planting extra, to push the CSA out a few extra weeks into January. I still plan on delivering our 40 weeks of produce, even if we’re hit and miss for a while.

Volunteer Poppies from the U-Pick flower garden two years ago.

We hope to have all of our food crops planted this week, and then we’ll be able to get to work on the U-Pick flower garden. There’s still lots of time for blooms, so don’t despair.

Thank you so much for your patience while we’ve been weathering this tricky year. We wouldn’t be here without you.

CSA Weeks 5 & 6

Spring Onions, Pea Shoots, Spinach, Green Garlic, Salad Turnips, and Parsnips.

LAST WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Parsnips or Salad Turnips
• Spring Onions
• Rapini 
• Spring Onions
• Green Garlic
• Pea Shoots

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Carrots, Beets, Sugar Snap Peas, Napa Cabbage, Lettuce

We have finally caught up with the weather nightmare that has been spring. We have used up all of the overwintered crops, except onions and pea shoots, and all of the greenhouse crops that were meant to tide us over until the outdoor planted crops were ready.

All the rain this spring has put our planting schedule 5-6 weeks behind when we’ve planted the last two years.

But remember, we haven’t been able to plant anything this spring, until this week. That’s six weeks later than last year. And because nothing was planted outside to begin when the greenhouse crops finish up, there’s nothing to harvest.

I dread telling CSA members this, because you paid ahead for your produce. And we really have done all that we can. But the good news is that it’s temporary. Just this week, we were able to get everything planted up to our current planting schedule, plus a few things, “just in case”.

We start out our season with Spring Onions, leftovers from last year’s onion crop that were missed.

We will have no CSA pickups this week (May 13-16) and no pickups next week (May 20-23). The following week, however, we will have many new and exciting things to start harvesting, and hopefully, we won’t have to stop again until January. We’ve replanted greenhouses, and we have a ton of things planted outside. I’m very hopeful that we can turn this season around.

Jackie may be small, but he’s a brave family man, looking over his harem and finding them tidbits to eat.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We will continue planting, and get things cleaned up for our first farm potluck on May 27. Mark your calendars!

We can’t work up ground for planting when there is water standing in the field. And so we wait.

CSA Weeks 3 & 4

Parsnips, Rapini (Broccoli Raab), Spring Onions, Pea Shoots, Green Garlic, Mixed Cooking Greens, and U-Pick Tulips and Daffodils.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Parsnips
• Mixed Bag of  Kale and Beet Greens
• Rapini 
• Spring Onions
• Green Garlic
• Pea Shoots

• U-Pick Tulips and Daffodils!

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Radishes, Arugula, Cilantro, Spinach

By now it shouldn’t be a surprise that this has been the wettest, coldest spring in our entire farming career. It’s well documented now. We have surpassed our frustration point at not being able to work ground for planting.

Mixed tulips from the U-Pick rows. CSA families only!

Our spring season always starts out a bit slow, with whatever perennial crops have survived through the winter. Everything that we have fed you with, up to this point, was planted last year.

The next crops to harvest (and we did start picking them for market last week) come from the greenhouses. Back in February, we planted radishes, turnips, arugula, spinach, and carrots in all of our hoop houses. They’ve taken much longer than normal to produce a crop, even under cover. It’s been cold. Next week, there will be enough of many of those things to harvest for CSA families as well.

Our Cooking Greens bags are made of frilly kales and beet greens.

But hoop houses are limited to their space, and since we haven’t been able to plant anything outside yet, I’m afraid that we’re going to have a harvest gap. In the past, we’ve been able to transition through these spring harvest stages more-or-less in a seamless way. But it’s been a struggle to get just six items to harvest every week. Next week is looking good, but the following week, I’m not so sure. We’ll have spinach and turnips, and onions and garlic. Is that worth the drive to the farm?

I’m not without hope. Eventually, the weather will turn, and we’ll get more than one day of consecutive dry weather that will allow us to work up seedbeds and plant. There are many steps involved, and much of the farm is still covered by standing water. People like to exaggerate about weather, it’s human nature. But believe me: this is not good.

Rapini, also known as Broccoli Raab, consists of the flower buds and tender leaves of the overwintered turnip plants. They’re juicy and tender, and sweet, with a touch of bitterness.

So I’m warning you now that we may have to skip a week or two of CSA harvest in the weeks to come. However, we have lots of baby plants in the greenhouse, just waiting to planted outside. Because when you can’t plant outside, you get things started inside. In the long run, a little break from harvesting would let us get a lot of planting done, if the weather were on our side.

It may turn out to be a greens and broccoli year. Light on the tomatoes and squash. But we will have food. We just need a few dry days.

GOOD NEWS: The hens are laying well now! We’re going to finish out last year’s egg subscriptions for four weeks, and in mid-May, we’ll open up egg subscriptions to all CSA members, based on how many eggs we predict the hens will keep laying. So, if you had an egg subscription last year, pick up your eggs for four weeks.